Best of our wild blogs: 6 Sep 15

School's out! with the Naked Hermit Crabs
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

Morning Walk At Lower Peirce Reservoir (05 Sep 2015)
Beetles@SG BLOG

Larval Host Plant for Butterflies: Saga Seed Tree
Butterflies of Singapore

Sharing at Sentosa and Pasir Ris
wild shores of singapore

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Occasional hazy conditions in Singapore until Sunday: NEA

The 24-hour PSI for the next 24 hours is expected to fluctuate between the high end of the Moderate range (51-100) and the low end of the Unhealthy range (101-200), says the National Environment Agency.
Channel NewsAsia 5 Sep 15;

SINGAPORE: Occasional hazy conditions in Singapore are expected to continue until Sunday (Sep 6) with the 24-hour Pollutants Standard Index (PSI) fluctuating between the high end of the Moderate range (51-100) and the low end of the Unhealthy range (101-200) for the next 24 hours, authorities said.

As of 6pm on Saturday, the 24-hour PSI was 85-92, in the Moderate range, and the three-hour PSI was 84.

The haze is due to to the spread of haze from Sumatra and the surrounding region under light wind conditions over Singapore, said the National Environment Agency (NEA).

The agency said that the impact of the haze is dependent on a person's health. It advises the elderly, pregnant women, and children to minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion, while those with chronic lung or heart disease should avoid outdoor exertion.

Those who are not feeling well should seek medical attention, said NEA.

- CNA/wl

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Malaysia: Moderate air quality readings in most areas nationwide

The Star 5 Sep 15;

KUALA LUMPUR: The air quality in most areas nationwide was moderate Saturday morning with no unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) reading recorded as at 9am.

The Department of Environment in its website stated that 40 areas recorded moderate API readings, while 12 other areas recorded good API readings.

Moderate API readings were also recorded at two areas in the federal capital, namely, Batu Muda (56) and Cheras (55), and Putrajaya (59).

Similar readings were recorded in Selangor, such as Banting (66), Kuala Selangor (57), Port Klang (80), Petaling Jaya (61), and Shah Alam (71).

Moderate readings were recorded in most areas in Johor, Kedah, Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Terengganu, and Sarawak.

Meanwhile, the API reading in all areas in Sabah was 'good'.

An API reading of 0-50 is categorised as Good; 51-100, Moderate; 101-200, Unhealthy; 201-300, Very unhealthy; and more than 301, Hazardous.

The public can access updates through - Bernama

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Indonesia: Religious communities to tackle climate change

Hans Nicholas Jong, The Jakarta Post 5 Sep 15;

Leaders from six major religions in Indonesia have decided to band together to address climate change by pledging to involve their religious communities in combating one of the most pressing issues facing mankind today.

Muhammadiyah, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI), the Indonesian Buddhist Community (Walubi) and the Indonesian Parisadha Hindu Council (PHDI), will start a movement called Indonesia Bergerak untuk Menyelamatkan Bumi, or Indonesia’s Move to Save the Earth (IBMB).

“We have agreed to establish a movement that will mobilize the faithful in Indonesia to deal with climate change and global warming, which have affected us greatly. We have agreed to collectively campaign, advocate, educate and raise people’s awareness to save the earth,” MUI chairman Din Syamsuddin told reporters after a meeting with representatives from religious communities in Jakarta on Friday.

He said that the movement would mobilize supporters to influence the country’s direction on climate change, including giving advice on Indonesia’s Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC), which was recently submitted to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

The INDC is due to be submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on Sept. 20. The government is offering the public the opportunity to offer suggestions for the latest draft of the INDC.

“The working team will soon hold meetings to draft a plan of action, including things related to the global agenda like the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris,” Din said.

In order to boost the participation of religious communities in sustainable development, Din would represent Indonesia at the UN Meeting on Religions and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in Bristol, UK, from Sept. 8-9.

The meeting was initiated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a key part of the UN’s post 2015 process to create a follow up to the Millennium Development Goals of 2000.

Fachruddin Mangunjaya, deputy chairman of Center for Islamic Studies at the National University (UNAS), said that the movement had the potential to bring about change given the important role that religion played in the country.

“Imagine this, we have 800,000 mosques that use water everyday. Water comes from the ground and it is pumped using fuel. If we can save water, we can reduce emissions and reduce infaq [donations],” he said on Friday.

Fachruddin, who is also an environmentalist, said that the money saved from water conservation in mosques could be used to fund environmental programs that had been sanctioned by the MUI through an edict (fatwa).

Fachruddin added that another example of how the movement could contribute to climate action was through educating haj pilgrims.

“We have this green haj movement, where people going on pilgrimage are asked to be more friendly to the environment by doing things such as using water tumblers. We are developing a smartphone app for that. So when people read the haj rehearsal script, they no longer use books. The apps will be in Bahasa Indonesia and English,” Fachruddin said.

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Indonesia: Govt prepares emergency operations, national taskforce for fires 5 Sep 15;

The government is set to prepare smoke emergency operations to overcome forest and land fires in parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan following a closed meeting at the Environment and Forestry Ministry on Saturday.

“A ministry decree will be issued regarding the smoke emergency operations. A national taskforce (Satgas) will be established as well,” said the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s secretary-general, Bambang Hendroyono, as quoted by

Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Sudirman Said, National Police chief Badrodin Haiti, Indonesian Military (TNI) chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo and regional representatives from South Sumatra, Jambi and Riau were among those in attendance at the meeting held at the Manggala Wanabakti building in Senayan, Central Jakarta.

According to Bambang, the governors of Riau, South Sumatra, Jambi, Central Kalimantan and West Kalimantan provinces will lead the operations on the regional level.

“Hopefully we can immediately start the joint operation,” said Bambang.

Efforts to extinguish the fires will be carried out on land and through water bombing from the air.

Gatot Nurmantyo said that the TNI is ready to deploy helicopters and CN 295, Hercules and Cessna aircraft to support the operation.

“Besides extinguishing the fires, Satgas will also act as law enforcement and health officers,” said Gatot. (kes)(++++)

Regions remain confident amid worsening haze
Syofiardi Bachyul JB and Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post 5 Sep 15;

Despite the thickening haze that has blanketed their regions over the past few weeks, local authorities in West Sumatra and Riau said on Friday that they had yet to declare an emergency status for their respective jurisdictions.

West Sumatra Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) prevention division head Rumainur said the decision to delay such a declaration had been taken because the thickness of the haze continued to fluctuate in the province and flights at local airports still continued to run as usual.

“The haze thickens in the morning but eventually subsides in the afternoon and then thickens again the next morning,” Rumainur told The Jakarta Post.

The West Sumatra provincial administration, according to Rumainur, will not rush to declare an emergency status because such a declaration would damage economic activity and tourism in the region.

“We will have a number of national events here including the Tour de Singkarak, to be held in October,” he said, referring to the annual international cycling race.

Local authorities in many parts of the country, particularly in Sumatra and Kalimantan, have been struggling to put out massive land and forest fires over the past few months caused by this year’s prolonged dry season.

In Pekanbaru, acting Riau Governor Arsyadjuliandi “Andi” Rachman also said that his province had no plans to declare an emergency status, despite pressure from various parties.

“Unlike what happened in 2014, the thick haze has stayed [in the province] for only a few days while severe haze only emerges for a matter of hours,” Andi told reporters.

The intensity of the current haze, according to Andi, will not lead to the shutdown of Pekanbaru’s Sultan Syarif Kasim (SSK) II Airport despite a series of flight delays at the airport over the past three days.

“What we need to do is convince our neighboring provinces to put in their very best efforts to extinguishing the fires that produce the haze that has been blanketing Riau,” he said.

In Jambi, the local police announced that they had detained nine people suspected of having caused fires in a conservation forest in Betara, West Tanjungjabung regency.

Jambi Police chief Brig. Gen. Lutfi Lubihanto said that based on the provisional investigation, the suspects had intentionally entered the conservation forest to commit illegal logging and clear land for plantation purposes.

In North Sumatra, thick haze thought to have come from neighboring provinces continues to cause a decline in the quality of air in a number of regions, including the provincial capital of Medan.

“We call on people to reduce outdoor activities because the haze may cause them to suffer from ISPA [acute respiratory infection],” acting North Sumatra Governor T. Erry Nuradi said.

Jon Afrizal in Jambi and Apriadi Gunawan in Medan contributed to this story.

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